You’d think by reading the title of Byron York’s new book “The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy” that the author, NRO’s White House correspondent, would be delving into some kind of evil, secret society with vast numbers of minions scurrying around the country to undermine democracy and overthrow George Bush.
Not hardly. Reading this review by Opinion Journal’s Jacob Laskin we find what most of us have suspected all along; the left is just plain dumb:
It was several months before Election Day. George W. Bush and John Kerry had pulled to a statistical dead heat, and the pundits were poring over the polls in an effort to divine the reasons for the latest shift in public opinion. But MoveOn.org had more pressing concerns. It was moved to ask its network of true believers: “Why aren’t we talking about a landslide in November?”
Such groundless conviction “was not at all unusual in the world of MoveOn,” writes Byron York in “The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.” The triumphalism flowed, he notes, from a deceptively simple rationale. Feeling a passionate contempt for the president and his policies, the MoveOn rank-and-file labored under the illusion that they represented the majority of the American people.
This insularity and plain old hubris is, of course, not confined to the denizens of the left. Conservatives of a certain stripe have been known to sip the kool aid from time to time. But the left has a history and tradition of rationalism that should keep this kind of battiness from taking over its institutions. Philosophers like John Stuart Mill and T. H. Green preached an open-mindedness and reflective intellectual discipline that seems to have been lost on their modern day inheritors.
What passes for rationality on the left today has more to do with updating the latest conspiracy theory on 9/11 or flagging some kind of dead horse like Jeff Gannon rather than attempting to learn from their mistakes and trying to do better next time.
Laskin, in reviewing Mr. York’s book, shows how the Emperor not only doesn’t have any clothes on, but also doesn’t have a clue about where to buy any:
Beneath the patina of confidence, however, the left-wing conspiracy often seems pitiable, as desperate as it is determined. Above all, its members are angry—at the perceived injustice of the 2000 presidential election, at the prospect of long-term Republican governance, at John Kerry’s inept campaigning. Even, it appears, at being called angry.
It is the anger that does them in. Resting his case on much original reporting, Mr. York convincingly shows that the activist left mistook its base—2.5 million strong and anti-Bush to the (mostly white) man—for the mainstream electorate, as if fury and contempt were the only logical responses to the Bush presidency. Reciting the mantra that it was “too big to fail,” the left wing bought into the conspiracy of its own vastness. An inability to connect with swing voters followed, and electoral defeat.
What Mr. Laskin points out is that “The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy” isn’t very vast and by nature, not very conspiratorial. It is, however, filthy rich. And the Soros Circle (which includes some of the wealthiest human beings on the planet), five members of whom gave more than $78 million dollars to various “527” groups all to defeat George Bush, do in fact have a shadowy agenda not readily discernible. It can’t be that they see a threat to their immense wealth. Surely, it must be something else, something beyond altruism that drives these donors to spend the time and money to destroy the President.
Soros is the key. Mr. York lists the contributions by Soros to the various 527’s”:
Malcolm told me that she and Rosenthal walked away with commitments for a total of $23 million from Soros, Lewis, and a few others at the meeting. Within weeks, Soros began writing checks to ACT. First came $1 million on August 19. Then $2 million on September 12. Then another $2 million on December 23. And then $4.55 million to the Joint Victory Fund, an umbrella organization that then distributed the money to ACT, on April 15, 2004. In the beginning, Soros had pledged $10 million to ACT and other Democratic 527s. Then the number became $15 million. Then $20 million. Then $25 million. And then more. The 527s had never seen that amount of money come in from one person at one time. Soros would become the biggest donor in history.
What then does Mr. Soros want? Control of a political party through Moveon.org would be gratifying but an empty gesture given that much of the Democratic party in the person of labor unions is anti-globalist. Here are some thoughts from “Sartre,” a commenter at Frontpage Magazine:
While it is reported widely that Soros funded groups that support increased government spending, tax increases, oppose the death penalty and President Bush’s judicial nominees; there is a far more sinister scheme. In report by Neil Hrab – George Soros’ Social Agenda for America – drug legalization, euthanasia, immigration entitlements and feminism are examined. Mr. Hrab points out that in the book Open Society: “Reforming Global Capitalism”, Soros wrote that he is: “rather leery of self-appointment, self righteous” international NGOs. From his own site Soros proudly claims that his foundations are dedicated to building and maintaining the infrastructure and institutions of an open society. They work closely with OSI to develop and implement a range of programs focusing on civil society, education, media, public health, and human rights as well as social, legal, and economic reform. In recent years, OSI and the Soros foundations network have spent more than $400 million annually to support projects in these and other focus areas.
It sounds as if Soros is like one of those later James Bond villains; fabulously wealthy men whose ambitions are fueled by a combination of insecurity and a Napoleonic complex. The mystery to me is why this secretive man has chosen the Democratic party to be the vessel for his ideas on “open societies” and globalization.
It could be that the proprietors of the party are just plain dumb. And Soros, like a lion lying down with lambs, has decided he can take advantage.
Mark Noonan from Blogs for Bush takes the questioning one step further:
The only question which remains with me today about it all is: where did we get such people? Where in the overwhelmingly rich, powerful and peaceful United States did we create a political species which looks upon us all as crass, evil and stupid? It is one thing to say that you like Social Security as is or that you think that war is just not the answer…it is quite another to actually say that you believe Social Security reform and the war are both mere devices of President Bush to enrich his corporate buddies. This isn’t just a different take on events, its a sick fantasy at odds with easily ascertainable fact. After dealing with the left all through 2004 (and we got comments from them of a much stronger and stranger variety than we actually allowed on the blogs; think of the worst leftwing comment you saw last year, magnify it a dozen times and you’ll start to approximate the worst of the deleted comments) it still makes my jaw drop a little when I think of what they say and do.
Mark, you’re not the only one.